I’m just now realizing that it evidently looks like all the savory foods I eat involve corn, black beans, jalapeño peppers, and/or anything remotely Mexican-inspired. It’s obviously something I gravitate towards when I cook, mostly because when you’re not cooking with meat (which I don’t do often), you need to make things interesting in a different way, and Mexican flavors are alwayyyyys interesting. (Interesting meaning good good good). Plus, Mexican food goes perfectly with margaritas and that’s clearly a win-win.
There’s this thing about quinoa though which is —> if you don’t flavor it up it’s really boring. Boring might be healthy but it’s sure not appealing, so that’s when you have to take matters into your own hands.
The best testament I can give to this quinoa dish is that I actually could happily call it lunch or dinner any day because it’s healthy AND it has all kinds of awesome flavors that make it anything but boring. The black bean-corn-tomato combo gives it a fun southwestern flair with a kick of heat from some of that jalapeño pepper, and a little bit of lemon juice adds a nice zing to it that really brings all the flavors alive. I’m an avocado fiend so I really like adding some fresh avocado on top for a little bit of creaminess, but with or without you really can’t go wrong.
The best part about all this though – other than the fact that it’s perfect for a healthy little food fiesta (obvi) – is that you can make this dish in about 25 minutes flat. Take another minute to make yourself that margarita and your Friday night is goooood to go.
Healthy Southwestern Quinoa
A light and healthy quinoa dish with a spicy kick, studded with bits of sweet corn, black beans, and tomato for a boost in flavor.
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- 6 ¼ ounces (1 cup) quinoa
- one 14 ½ ounce can (1 ¾ cups) reduced-sodium chicken broth (or sub vegetable broth)*
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon plus heavy pinch of salt, divided
- 3 ounces (⅔ cup) finely chopped white onion
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
- 10 ounces (1 ⅔ cup or one 15 ¼ ounce can, drained) corn
- 8 ¾ ounces (about 1 ½ cups or one 15 ounce can, drained) black beans (cooked)
- 3 ½ ounces (½ cup) finely chopped tomato
- 1 ½ teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- avocado slices
- freshly ground pepper
- lemon wedges
- In a medium saucepan, stir together quinoa, chicken broth, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and heavy pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir and reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring every 5, until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is thick and fluffy. (Remove from heat when done if not ready to add remaining ingredients).
- While quinoa is cooking, heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes, until soft and turning translucent. Add jalapeño pepper and sauté for about 1 more minute. Add corn, beans, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt and continue to sauté for 1-2 minutes longer, until entire mixture is hot.
- Place quinoa over medium heat and stir in sauté, tomatoes, and lemon juice. Cook for 1-2 minutes, to ensure that the dish is thoroughly hot. Serve immediately, topped with avocado slices, freshly ground pepper, and lemon wedges, if desired.
*Use vegetable broth to keep this recipe vegan
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